Lilianne Milgrom

on Tour

January 18-29



The secret life of the world’s most erotic masterpiece

(historical fiction)

 Release date: July 28, 2020
at Little French Girl Press

255 pages

 2020 Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Award


Buy it here

Amazon | Bookshop


See the book on Goodreads


L’Origine‘ traces the extraordinary, clandestine odyssey of an iconic 19th century painting that shook up the author’s world and continues to scandalize all who set eyes upon it.
Gustave Courbet’s portrait of a woman’s exposed torso and sex – audaciously entitled ‘L’Origine du monde’ (The Origin of the World) – was so shocking it was kept hidden for a century and a half, surviving revolution, Nazi plunder and the foibles of its eccentric owners.
Today it draws millions of visitors to Paris’ Orsay Museum. Lilianne Milgrom brings a fresh, feminine perspective to an iconic work of art created specifically for the male gaze.
L’Origine‘ offers readers more than a riveting romp through history–it also reflects society’s complex attitude towards female nudity.

NB: this is a historical novel, no explicit scenes




L'Origine - Lilianne MilgromLilianne Milgrom
Paris-born Lilianne Milgrom
is an award-winning international artist,
writer on the arts and author.
Her art can be found in both private and institutional collections
around the world
and her articles have been published in
Huffington Post, Daily Art Magazine, Ceramics Now and Bonjour Paris.
Her 5-star, bestselling novel ‘L’Origine‘ is the result of ten years of research
and was accepted into the Historical Novel Society.
Lilianne lives in Washington DC with her husband.

Follow the author on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
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Books Are Cool

Utterly fascinating.
I don’t know which element of it I enjoy the most: the eye-opening, autobiographical prologue that gives an insight into being an artist and copyist, the narrative fiction recreation of the painting’s creation, the portrayal of the Parisian art scene, the peeks into the lives of the main characters we meet or the glimpses of how art dealing works.
Each aspect of the book is richly detailed and riveting.
Artist Liliane Milgrom is as deft with a pen as a paintbrush. She has an inviting, easy-to-read style. We learn so much from this novel whilst being thoroughly entertained.

Boys’ Mom Reads!

This fictional account of how the painting came to be displayed and viewed by more than a million visitors a year at the Orsay Museum was a highly satisfying story. Beginning with the author’s artist residency in Paris, the trip back through time was both magical and eye-opening. I learned so many interesting things.
I especially appreciated Milgrom’s recounting of her own experiences at the museum in Paris while a copyist.
There are some excellent, thought-provoking questions for discussion at the end of the book.
I recommend L’Origine: The Secret Life of the World’s Most Erotic Masterpiece by Lilianne Milgrom to readers of historical fiction and especially to those interested in the world of art or art history.

Coffee, Chocolate or Tennis 

Lilianne is very detailed and imaginative in putting forth a fascinating historical fiction that spans from 1865 – 2014 and across continents.
Lilianne Milgrom’s language is visual.
I enjoy reading her animated and humorous account of seven weeks spent in Paris as a copyist for the painting L’Origine du Monde at the Musée d’Orsay.
L’Origine is an excellent read for readers who are interested in European art and history.

An Accidental Blog

The author did a good job creating these historic scenes and characters as she kept the painting at the center of the world events; through World Wars and fallen governments, the hidden painting continued to exist in secret. This book was a smart read with good continuity and writing that kept me hooked.

The French Village Diaries

As Lilianne cleverly dips in and out of European history, culture and the troubled periods, we follow those involved and get to rub shoulders with famous names in art and literature whose paths crossed with the painting or its many owners.
Her passion for this piece and its story soon had me fascinated, even though it was a work of art that I’d not previously heard of.
This book certainly paints a colourful picture of a special work of art and opened my eyes to periods of art, history and culture I was unaware of.

Whispers from the Library

Milgrom’s descriptions were wonderful, and I felt I could really see, smell, and hear what it could have been like in 19th century France or war-torn Hungary or post-war Paris.
Overall, I think “L’Origine” is a very interesting book, and will best be appreciated by art and history lovers, or perhaps someone who wants a glimpse of a secret side of France.

Jack Carbee Blog

The novel is definitely worth a read. I personally enjoyed it from the perspective of the history it represents, Paris from the eighteenth century to the present. Other readers certainly might find the sociological or psychological elements of the book fascinating. Enhanced by the backdrop of Parisian life, the characters, though never the full focus of the author, are a fascinating lot.


Milgrom does well at showing us those times: clothing, famous people spotted in café’s by the main characters of each chapter in the painting’s history. And she makes the owners real people with delights, fears, and often struggling to explain life’s mysteries. One of which involves origins.
Milgrom’s book is also a love story that involves her fascination with Courbet’s masterpiece.


The author continues with the history of this gem, who requested it, how the author painted it, the rivalry between the painter’s models/lovers and what happened to it as it left his hands and went to various owners.
I loved the story about how it was created to be part of the personal collection of a rich Turkish Bey.

Buy the book here

Amazon | Bookshop

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